Football: Tampa Catholic 38, Lakeland Christian 31
LAKELAND — Every time things looked remotely troubling for Tampa Catholic on Thursday night, running back Devan Barrett seemed like he was handed a football.
Then Barrett was off and running and everything seemed much better.
By the end of the night, Barrett had 29 carries for 314 yards and five touchdowns and the Crusaders had sealed up the Class 3A, District 4 title with a 38-31 victory at Lakeland Christian.
“Devan can certainly make a difference and tonight he made a big difference,” TC coach Mike Gregory said. “We knew we were going to have to feed him the ball tonight. We knew he could make some things happen.”
Perhaps the biggest Barrett moment came less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter after Lakeland Christian had taken a 14-7 lead and pinned the Crusaders on their own 2-yard line.
On the next play, TC quarterback Austin Sessums handed the ball to Barrett, who rushed right, shook off a couple of tacklers, cut left and ran across the field to the other sideline where he sprinted home for a school-record 98-yard touchdown run.
“It was all clogged up and I was just looking for an opening,” said Barrett, who has committed to Auburn. “When it opened up I just took off. When I got to the end (of the run) I could barely believe I did it.”
In the second half, TC (5-2, 2-0) kept feeding Barrett, who by the end of the third quarter had 21 carries for 249 yards and his third touchdown, helping push TC ahead 24-21.
In the fourth quarter? More Barrett.
With 3:49 left on the fourth quarter clock, Barrett had scored his fourth and fifth touchdowns on runs of three and 52 yards.
Lakeland Christian (6-2, 0-2) made it interesting down the stretch scoring on a 74-yard touchdown pass, recovering the onside kick and hitting a 44-yard field to cut the gap to 38-31.
The Vikings’ final onside-kick attempt was recovered by TC, and yet, the game still wasn’t over.
With 1:03 remaining the game, TC fumbled on its own 37-yard line and there was a mad scramble for the ball.
Guess who recovered the loose ball?